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Portable sundial (back)

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made in Paris

Portable sundial (back)
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This silver portable sundial was made in Paris in the 18th century, probably by Jean-Baptiste Delure. This photograph shows the back of the instrument.

The octagonal plate is engraved front and back with local latitudes. The concentric circles of places and their latitudes are engraved on the base of the compass box. The exotic places - from Lima in Peru to Batavia in the Dutch East Indies - would flatter the owner of the sundial by persuading him that he was well-travelled.

Jean-Baptiste Delure's signature is found on a number of surviving instruments, mostly sundials. He was father-in-law to the fifth son of the eminent Parisian instrument maker Nicolas Bion. Jean-Baptiste Nicolas Bion carried on both their businesses until around 1770.

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